Tag Archives: California High-Speed Rail

California High-Speed Rail Authority Hasn’t Planted Any Trees

Citizens for California High Speed Rail Accountability (CCHSRA) co-chairman Frank Oliveira was interviewed for an investigative news story about another failure of the California High-Speed Rail Authority to fulfill its commitments. KCRA Channel 3 in Sacramento broadcast the story on December 8, 2015.

In June 2013, the California High-Speed Rail Authority produced a report for the state legislature as required by Senate Bill 1029, which was signed into law by Governor Brown in 2012. Entitled Contribution of the High-Speed Rail Program to Reducing California’s Greenhouse Gas Emission Levels, this report was supposed to analyze the net impact of the high speed rail system on the state’s greenhouse gas emissions.

It promised “zero net emissions” during construction by offsetting equipment and material production emissions with programs such as irrigation pump replacement, new tractors for farmers, new buses for school districts, and a tree-planting program. According to the report introduction by chairwoman of the California Air Resources Board, “The analysis of GHG emission reductions in the Authority’s report clearly demonstrates that the high-speed rail project will be an important part of meeting California’s overall climate goals.”

This report also helped to justify the decision of Governor Brown and the California legislature to keep the project alive through annual budget appropriations derived from Cap-and-Trade auction revenue. Construction of the high-speed rail system was not supposed to contribute to climate change. All pollution would be offset by other activities.

Almost a year after the ceremonial groundbreaking in Fresno, KCRA reporter David Bienick looked into the tree planting program. In response to a question asked with a camera running, California High-Speed Rail Authority CEO Jeff Morales admitted that not one tree had been planted. Morales had claimed in 2014 testimony to legislative committees and in other presentations that 5,000 trees would be planted to achieve the “zero net emissions.”

This KCRA story turned to CCHSRA leadership for commentary:

Frank Oliviera on California High-Speed Rail Tree Planting

Frank Oliviera speaks about the absurdity of the California High-Speed Rail tree-planting program.

Frank Oliveira of the group Citizens for California High-Speed Rail Accountability said some studies have shown the state will need to plant 5 million trees.

“Where are they going to put 5 million trees and keep them alive? Who’s going to take care of those trees? How much is that going to cost to take care of those trees?” Oliveira said.

Read the article and see the video here: High-Speed Rail’s Tree-Planting Plan Slow to Start: Nearly a Year After Groundbreaking, Not a Single Tree Planted.

Also, see the CCHSRA letter to the California Air Resources Board about the appropriateness of using Cap-and-Trade auction proceeds to fund California High-Speed Rail construction: Questioning the Outlandish Idea That California High-Speed Rail Deserves Cap-and-Trade Funds.

An April 2014 article published by the California Policy Center suggested that the tree-planting plan and other “schemes” to achieve zero net emissions were “farcical.” See California High Speed Rail’s Dubious Claims of Environmental Benefits.

Rebutting Claims About California High-Speed Rail as a Highway and Airport Alternative

Below is a summary (abstract) of a report submitted to the California High-Speed Rail Authority board by Mark R. Powell of Against California High Speed Rail at the board’s November 9, 2015 meeting.


Pushing Back on the California High-Speed Rail Authority’s Myths About High-Speed Rail

24,300 Miles of Highway Lanes as an Alternative to High-Speed Rail
by Mark R. Powell
October 30, 2015

The Authority’s most recent hyping of the need for high-speed rail, a June 2015 brochure entitled California High-Speed Rail Big Picture (2015), makes the claim that Phase 1 Blended, connecting San Francisco and Los Angeles, provides a transportation capacity equivalent to 4,300 new highway lane miles, 115 additional airport gates, and four new airport runways costing $158 billion. A second claim is that high-speed rail provides this capacity at half the cost.

This paper dissects these deceptive claims where the Authority uses “capacity” instead of “ridership” knowing full well that the theoretical capacity of Phase 1 Blended will dwarf its ridership and that the itemized highway lane miles will not be necessary this century, if ever, whether Phase 1 Blended is built or not built.

The paper then traces the evolution over two decades of the asserted highway benefits of high-speed rail, from the thousands of miles of highway lanes reported in the Authority’s 2005 California High-Speed Train Final Program EIR/EISback to earlier minimal assertions made in its first business plan and those made by its predecessor, the Intercity High-Speed Rail Commission.

Lastly, this paper looks at California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) traffic data and Caltrans long range planning documents. The data and planning documents prove how the Authority grossly overestimated future highway infrastructure needs for the year 2016 in its 2005 California High-Speed Train Final Program EIR/EIS and attempts to give readers information sufficient to see for themselves high-speed rail’s true impact on future highway needs over the next 20 years.

Read the full report at the California High-Speed Rail Authority website at Pushing Back on the California High-Speed Rail Authority’s Myths About High-Speed Rail or at the Citizens for California High-Speed Rail Accountability website at Pushing Back on the California High-Speed Rail Authority’s Myths About High-Speed Rail.

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Voters Can Set California Priorities Straight: Water In, Train Out

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Aaron Fukuda, 559-707-8928 or cchsraorg [at] gmail.com

Voters Get Opportunity to Set California Priorities Straight – Water In, Train Out

 

(Hanford, California, Thursday, November 12, 2015) – The voters of California now have an opportunity to determine where the priorities of California need to be in the near future. Board of Equalization Vice Chair George Runner and Senator Bob Huff have submitted a voter initiative to the Attorney General that could be placed on the 2016 Election. This initiative will give voters a choice to take unused bonding capacity from the California High Speed Rail Project (HSR Project) authorized under Proposition 1A and put it towards water infrastructure projects that are vitally need to meet the current water needs of the State and to prevent social and economic impacts when the next drought strikes California.

This initiative comes at a critical point in the HSR Project as the California High Speed Rail Authority (Authority) has made very little progress on the project and numerous questions of legitimacy surround the Authority and the HSR Project. To fund water projects in California, the initiative seeks to redirect unused HSR funds from the project that were authorized by the voters in 2008 under Proposition 1A. The Authority has spent eight years trying to develop a project that meets Proposition 1A’s requirements, and both the courts and the public have highlighted numerous shortcomings that have kept the Authority and the State from issuing Proposition 1A bonds.

More recently, the Authority came under fire for withholding key documents that showed that the 2014 Business Plan that was presented to the California Legislature was based on artificially low values, and the project will likely exceed the budget set forth in 2014. The Authority also received proposals from 36 international companies that specialize in high-speed rail projects, most of which told the Authority that private funding was not coming to the rescue and that the approach planned by the HSR Authority is not technically or financially feasible.

The Democratic Party-controlled California Legislature, charged with the responsibility to oversee the HSR Project, has refused to appropriately address concerns and has opted instead to loosen oversight of the project. Recently, Assembly Speaker Tony Atkins responded to a request to investigate the Authority for withholding documents by brushing off the severity of the incident and emphasizing “broader range of oversight in 2016.” Earlier in the year the legislature passed Assembly Bill 95, which eliminated the requirement for the Authority to produce and submit key progress reports and reduced the frequency that the Authority produced and submitted project and financial reports.

A large majority of voters of California are tired of watching communities, farms and businesses struggle with the lack of water while a rogue agency like the California High Speed Rail Authority and the Legislature mismanages their multi-billion dollar project. We hope that in 2016 voters will send a message to the Governor and the California Legislature that we can and will set water as our priority in the State of California and hold our public agencies accountable for the use of our limited tax dollars.

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Voters Get Opportunity to Set California Priorities Straight – Water In, Train Out

Assembly Speaker Must Strengthen High-Speed Rail Oversight

See a copy of this letter: CCHSRA Letter Dated November 10, 2015 to Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins on Inadequate California High-Speed Rail Oversight


November 10, 2015

The Honorable Toni G. Atkins
Speaker of the Assembly
P.O. Box 942849
Sacramento, CA 94249-0078

Dear Speaker Atkins:

We are commenting on your November 3, 2015 letter to Assembly Minority Leader Kristen Olsen about California High-Speed Rail oversight. Your letter claims that legislative oversight of the Authority planned for 2016 will be sufficient, and it rejects a request for the legislature to issue a subpoena to the Authority.

Your response, along with a law enacted in June to reduce legislative oversight, seems to indicate that the legislative branch is essentially in cahoots with the administration of Governor Brown in limiting public scrutiny of this troubled mega-project. By declining legislative oversight of the California High-Speed Rail Authority, you are evading an uncomfortable political reality and depending on the courts to reveal the truth about the status of this project.

Our extensive interaction during the past five years with the California High-Speed Rail Authority has revealed the agency’s culture. It works to conceal documents that contradict its public statements, its business plans, and other reports provided to the legislature.

It’s understandable why the California High-Speed Rail Authority avoids accountability. It cannot possibly comply with Proposition 1A. We urge you to reverse your position and take extraordinary means to obtain internal documents and public testimony from officials of the California High-Speed Rail Authority.

Our Experience with the California High-Speed Rail Authority

Citizens for California High Speed Rail Accountability (CCHSRA) was formed in 2011 by farmers, small business owners, and other residents of Kings County and rural Fresno County. It was a response to the lack of public accountability we observed firsthand from the California High-Speed Rail Authority as they planned the rail alignment through our rural agricultural communities.

Our introduction to the Authority gave us a foreshadowing of their typical conduct, which continues today. Representatives of the Authority began trespassing on our properties without notice or permission of the owners. Initially bewildered, we soon discovered these outsiders were assessing our land in preparation for the Authority to take it, either through unfairly low financial offers or through eminent domain.

Meanwhile, the Authority established a rail alignment that literally put the track through the front door and out the back door of the only livestock rendering facility south of Fresno. It was stunning. A conspiracy theorist would conclude that the path was deliberately chosen to undermine the region’s dairy industry and make an ideological statement of some sort.

We perceived the disdain of agency officials for the agricultural life and rural traditions of our community. You may not be aware that most of the 1300 parcel owners now targeted by the California High-Speed Rail Authority are resisting the government appropriation of our land. Every month, the State Public Works Board takes action to obtain that land.

After we became a visible critic of the agency’s conduct, the California High-Speed Rail Authority held some local community meetings devoid of substance in our region. To add to our frustration, someone arranged these meetings to be flooded with union construction workers from outside the area. The Authority briefly opened an office in Hanford (the county seat of Kings County) for community outreach and then shut it down without public notice, perhaps calculating it could better handle the rural communities by crushing us with political power.

For almost five years, our members have met weekly for status updates at the Kings County Farm Bureau office, attended almost every monthly meeting of the Authority board, and studied the legislative-mandated reports and public relations material available to the public. We identified numerous inconsistencies and questionable claims from the Authority to the Kings County Board of Supervisors, the California legislature, and the public. The 2014 Final Business Plan for California High-Speed Rail fails to fulfill statutory requirements and presents a false picture of the program. It’s already woefully out of date.

We hired some lawyers and policy consultants to perform detailed analysis of the performance of the California High-Speed Rail Authority, particularly in relationship to the mandates in Proposition 1A and in state laws implemented in conjunction with Proposition 1A. They confirmed our impression that public accountability is sorely lacking for the California High-Speed Rail Authority.

Some of the most devastating information obtained by Citizens for California High Speed Rail Accountability is only publicly available because of public records requests and off-the-cuff remarks made at board meetings. The discovery of unreleased internal Authority documents by the Los Angeles Times reporter isn’t surprising to us.

A Typical Example of California High-Speed Rail Authority Hiding the Truth

We surmise that your official perspective about the California High-Speed Rail Authority comes primarily from its representatives through communications such as an October 30, 2015 letter to you from the chairperson and the CEO of the California High-Speed Rail Authority. This letter rests on outdated Authority claims such as the June 2013 announcement of bid results for Construction Package 1 (civil engineering work from Madera to Fresno).

Original bidding guidelines for Construction Package 1 emphasized the importance of experience with high-speed rail construction. During the bidding process, the Chairman and the CEO of the Authority – without any public vetting nor board action – changed the bidding rules. In the end, the contract was awarded to Tutor Perini/Zachry/Parsons, a Joint Venture, which had the least amount of experience with high-speed rail construction.

You may not be aware that the California High-Speed Rail Authority has not even advertised a request for bidder qualifications yet for laying track for what is currently the Initial Construction Section (Madera to Shafter). That would be Construction Package 5.

Actual earthwork has recently begun for Construction Package 1, a bid has been awarded for Construction Package 2-3, and bidders have been prequalified for Construction Package 4. Realize that all of this work is merely civil engineering – no track, no electrification, no heavy maintenance facility, no stations – from Madera to Shafter. And Merced and Bakersfield are not incorporated into this work.

As far as electrification work for the genuine high-speed rail capability that voters expected when they voted for Proposition 1A in November 2008, it looks like they will need to settle for eventual electrification of the “bookend” track that the Authority will share with Caltrain commuter service (San Francisco to San Jose). The electrified Initial Operating Segment from Madera or Merced to somewhere in Los Angeles County is essentially a bunch of options drawn on paper.

Behind the Authority’s public relations campaign (funded by a $500,000 item in the fiscal year 2015-16 state budget), the specifics of the project’s outlook are grim.

Oversight of the California High-Speed Rail Authority Has Been Reduced

Perhaps the most egregious act to suppress accountability for the California High-Speed Rail Authority occurred this past summer. Language was inserted into a budget trailer bill (Assembly Bill 95) eliminating the requirement for the Authority to produce and submit some progress reports and reducing the frequency for the Authority to produce and submit other progress reports.

The October 30, 2015 letter to you from California High-Speed Rail top officials states that “the Legislature maintains strong oversight of the High-Speed Rail program through several mechanisms. Senate Bill 1029, which authorized expenditures for the program, contains strict reporting requirements.”

Echoing these comments, you claim in your November 3, 2015 letter that “oversight mechanisms have already been put in place.” Actually, oversight mechanisms are being removed, and you apparently condoned it as Assembly Speaker and voted for it.

We never expected the executive branch to acknowledge the California High-Speed Rail Authority’s lack of public accountability, but we expected the legislative branch to insist on it. Instead, it will be the judicial branch that fulfills its role to serve the people.

In less than six months, the California legislative leadership, the California High-Speed Rail Authority, and Governor Brown will be exposed for concealing the reality of this project. We expect a Sacramento County Superior Court judge will confirm the Authority’s lack of accountability and failure to comply with Proposition 1A through a decision in Tos v. California High-Speed Rail Authority.

Oral arguments are scheduled for February 11, 2016. You still have time to respond to Assemblywoman Olsen’s request and avoid tainting the legislature in the California High-Speed Rail scandal. We urge you to issue a subpoena to the California High-Speed Rail Authority immediately and end its continual deception of the People of California.

Sincerely,

Aaron Fukuda, CCHSRA Co-Chairman
Frank Oliveira, CCHSRA Co-Chairman

Cc:

Assemblywoman Kristen Olsen
Assemblyman Jim Patterson
Assemblyman Tom Lackey
Assemblyman Scott Wilk
Senator Andy Vidak

U.S. House of Representatives Unanimously Passes Amendment Proposed by Congressman Jeff Denham to Nullify California High-Speed Rail Grant Agreement

Congressman Jeff Denham's District

Congressman Jeff Denham’s District

Citizens for California High-Speed Rail Accountability (CCHSRA) received a press release this morning (June 10, 2015) from the office of U.S. Representative Jeff Denham, who represents many residents of the Central Valley concerned about the financial waste, ill-conceived route alignment, and relentless property takings of California High-Speed Rail.

You may thank Congressman Denham via email by going to this website:

https://denham.house.gov/contact-me/email-me

Be especially sure to contact Congressman Denham if you live in his district. See the district map.


In a vote Tuesday evening (June 10, 2015), the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed Congressman Jeff Denham’s amendment to the Fiscal Year 2015-2016 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development appropriations bill nullifying the current grant agreement between the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and the California High-Speed Rail Authority.

“This amendment will finally hold California High-Speed Rail accountable for its finances,” said Rep. Denham. “The project is several decades behind schedule, nearly $70 billion over budget, and will not meet the speeds, travel times, or ridership levels promised to voters. No longer will they be able to accept a hamburger today for payment on Tuesday.”

Specifically, the amendment prohibits any appropriated federal funds from being used for high-speed rail in the state of California or for administering a grant agreement that includes a “tapered” match (described below).

When the Federal Railroad Administration initially awarded the Authority with nearly $3 billion in federal grant dollars under the federal stimulus package, it entered into a standard grant agreement with the Authority requiring a dollar-for-dollar match. This agreement stipulated that for every federal tax dollar spent, the Authority must spend a dollar from a non-federal source. California never came up with the money and subsequently missed payment deadline after payment deadline.

In order to avoid violating the Federal Deficiency Act, the Federal Railroad Administration quietly amended its grant agreement in December 2012 to allow for a tapered match – allowing federal dollars to be spent in advance of any matching dollars – despite having no assurances from the California High-Speed Rail Authority that the matching dollars would ever exist. The FRA’s Inspector General has subsequently criticized FRA for jeopardizing federal taxpayer dollars with this scheme. This amendment guarantees that the FRA must enter into an agreement that requires the Authority to match, dollar-for-dollar, federal tax dollars in current fiscal years.

See Text of Denham Amendment to Nullify the California High-Speed Rail Grant Agreement

Congressman Denham has repeatedly introduced legislation to stop the California High-Speed Rail Authority from continuing to waste billions in taxpayer dollars. In June 2012 and June 2014, he offered an amendment suspending federal funding for California High-Speed Rail. It passed each year. He also successfully added an amendment to the American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Act (H.R. 7) in February 2012 ensuring that money in highway bills could not be spent on California High-Speed Rail. In January 2014, Rep. Denham introduced the Responsible Rail and Deterring Deficiency Act, which would suspend all federal funding to California High-Speed Rail.

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“Dam Train” Billboard Campaign on Highway 99 Highlights California High-Speed Rail Project as Mistaken Priority; Sparks New Debate

Those traveling north or south along Highway 99 in Fresno County will see two billboards (with more to come) questioning the current priority of California’s government to build a $68 billion high-speed rail system from San Francisco to Los Angeles while San Joaquin Valley agriculture staggers from the effects of a multi-year drought.

Put up in May 2015, the billboards suggest that a “Dam” for water storage might be a more important priority for the state at this time than the government’s current priority of a “Train.”

The campaign is called “DamTrain” and describes itself as “a project by Fresno City Councilman Steve Brandau and the Taxpayers Association of Central California.” The project’s message: “Our water is more valuable than that train, and DamTrain exists to get this message to our leaders.”

Website for DamTrain is http://www.damtrain.com

The website for DamTrain is http://www.damtrain.com

Many ordinary Californians who added their names to the DamTrain website in support of water infrastructure versus transportation infrastructure have added their views to the debate of what our state government should prioritize. No word yet if Governor Jerry Brown has read these comments, but if he ever stumbles across the “DamTrain” website, he’ll see these:

Comments on the DamTrain.com Website

▪   We need water, we already have transportation.
   Get your priorities straight!! Spend our tax dollars on a dam, not a damn train!!!
   Who will benefit from increased water storage? All Californians. Who will benefit from the unnecessary bullet train? A small fraction of our population. Governor Brown – you do the math.
   Thank you for investing your time and funds into this very important topic for ALL of California.
   We can build a train any time. We need water NOW! Please build a dam.
   I really hope this helps change some minds.  #ILoveToEat  #WeNeedWater
   Yo hell w train we need water.
   We can live without a train. WE CAN”T LIVE WITHOUT WATER.
   We don’t need a Choo-Choo!! We need water storage / new dams!!
   Conservation is band-aid on a gunshot wound. It has only resulted in a power grab by the State Water Board and others in Sacramento. We blame our neighbors when we should be blaming Sacramento politicians. Increased storage is the only way Califonia will survive and prosper.
   Governor Brown’s priorities are in the wrong place. We do not need high speed rail!! Our valley needs water storage solutions.
   Water is a necessity of life and we are running out of it and patience. High speed rail has been a useless money pit since it began. Very simply water is more important and at this rate probably anything will be cheaper for the taxpayers than high speed rail.
   We need leaders that can look out for the people. Let’s get this done NOW!!!
   Humans need water to drink, to bathe. Farmers can’t grow foodstuffs without water. A “train to nowhere” over the protests of California’s citizenry is unacceptable. We need water to live! We don’t need or want a massive pork project at the expense of our very lives and livelihoods.
   WASTE OF MONEY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WILL NOT BE USED…WILL TAKE SO LONG TO BUILD THE MONEY SPENT WILL KILL CALIFORNIA…WHICH IS ALREADY THE WORST STATE. THIS IS WHY MORE & MORE PEOPLE WANT TO MOVE OUT OF CALIFORNIA.
   IT WILL TOTALLY RUIN OUR FARM LAND AND ONE WILL USE IT…ANOTHER PLAN MADE BY PEOPLE WHO HAVE NO KNOWLEDGE. MONEY DOWN THE TUBES…
   If we can build pipelines to move oil, why not WATER and not a faster train which will kill how many when it derails.
   This has been a problem since the 70s as far as I can remember. Get your priorities straight before you completely kill this state.
   We need water not another government subsidized toy!
   I live in a farm community and own a farm. We need water more than we need high speed rail. Putting our tax dollars into getting water to the farming communities would be money well spent.
   WATER for HUMANS first…NO to the high speed sludge fund. If a high speed train is needed, it should be PRIVATELY funded. THIS is NOT a good use or correct use of TAXPAYER money.
   The water crisis should be the priority! We NEED water, we don’t need this train. Please help!!
   We can live without a train to nowhere. We cannot live without water.
   Stuff your ^@#$ for your Union bedmates with your train…go buy one on ebay or amazon, and GIVE US BACK OUR, REPEAT OUR, WATER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
   We need water more than we need the high speed rail!
   Water is much more of a priority over that of a speed train to nowhere. Time to listen to the people of California Gov. Brown and stop brown nosing the big business lobbyists. Water is necessary for life and food.
   The train is a waste of money California doesn’t have. It also steals property from families! California needs water not a damn train!
   We all need water, not a High Speed Rail to support and subsidize like Amtrak. People first.
   The majority of people living in Calif. WILL NOT use the train. BUT all people need the water and the money being wasted on this train can be more than enough to help with building dams and etc. needed for storage of water. What is the matter with our elected officials that they can’t use their god given common sense?
   Save California and the crops it produces for the country!!
   Reroute funding for the unnecessary bullet train and put it where it’ll actually matter.
   This nightmare train to nowhere is officially the biggest debacle I ever seen. Gov. Brown is pushing an unnecessary legacy that no one wants. You lied about its destinations, its speed, its price and have said nothing about its subsidies. It will never be profitable.
   That we have not started to build more dams amazes me. That we are emptying dams amazes me even more.
   No one will ride it. It will only be a useless burden on the taxpayer. There are over 14,000 Desalination Plants in the world. We need at least 3 dozen in California and we need to stop letting precious rain water run out to sea every year.
   It is time to focus on the paramount issues in California – the “bullet train” is not one of those. This is simply a liberal boondoggle to unions and waste of taxpayers’ money. Focus on the issues that really affect our ability to provide growth and sutainable jobs – water. Without adequate water for our population there will be no growth – period.
   We can’t wait for the water board to start thinking about this in 2017 – the crisis is NOW!
   What happened to saving land and people and doing the RIGHT THING Governor Brown? We don’t need the train, WE NEED WATER!
   If we want food on our table, water is what will do that, not that train.
   Thank you Steve Brandau for stepping up for Californians to do the right thing…stop the train by putting water ahead of Mr. Jerry Brown’s personal agenda!
   This train is a boondoggle and needs to be cancelled. Build water storage instead!!!  DUH!!
   Please put the money toward water distribution solutions to the California citizens!
   Need water, not damn train, waste of money.
   A train that will cost money over a source we really need in the valley…Shaking my head at you Brown! We need WATER!!!
   California is broke and we need water storage. NO TRAIN before water…
   Water projects help all Californians, HSR will not solve any problems and will only benefit a small part of our population and require permanent subsidy. Please fix our water problems first.
   LISTEN TO THE PEOPLE STOP THE DAMN TRAIN.
   Water storage should be your number one priority. Water rationing now will not solve this problem. Failure to build adequate water storage immediately sentences the citizens of this state to increasing misery and destruction of our incredible agriculture system.
   We are the bread basket of this nation. Farming is a vital part of our state. It’s time to realize this train benefits no one except Los Angeles and San Francisco. When are we going to stop hand holding these cities? They get our water, they contribute the majority of our pollution, their liberal ideas govern the rest of us and now we want to waste billions to make sure they aren’t inconvenienced travelling. Wake up California, it’s time to take our state back and stop driving everyone out. make California the place you want to live not the place you can’t wait to leave.
   Cannot build the train with money they have! But would go a long way to helping the water situation for all, not the few train riders.
   Stop the train. Solve the water issue.
   We need Dams and Reservoirs, not a High Speed Rail System!
   Total waste of money when the real critical need is in water storage for the state. Would like to have seen the money that has already been spent on the train on repairing our water ways and building new dams for water storage.
   We don’t need a high speed rail, water is and the ability to store it is the single most important item we should be dealing with.
   Do your job, use common sense, without water we will not have a State for that crazy train to travel.
   Quit lining your pockets from special interests and do what is right for California and the American people.
   It’s time for common sense to return to California government. It can be your legacy, not the bullet train.
   What good is a train if everyone moves away from lack of water?
   Stop that train…I can’t believe it has gotten as far as it has. What are Californians thinking?!?!?
   Simple…We can live without the train…We cannot live without Water…
   Dams aren’t sexy like bullet trains. A dam makes it hard to politically reward your supporters, supporters that are concentrated in voter block metropolises and believe their green lawns are a miracle of the faucet.
   More Water…if the Train is economically feasible let it be built with private capital…please give more consideration and leadership to the need for more water in California…and thanks for your public service to our Great State.
   We need to build Dams not bullet trains.
   We need water not a train that nobody will use.
   Water is our livelihood in California. Without it people and business will move!
   I don’t have much faith that Brown will actually listen because he’s proven already he doesn’t really care what the people of California want but it would be nice to have some accountability for his lack of leadership or ability / desire to save this state before it dries up, goes Bankrupt and blows away.
   This water issue may wake up California sleeping majority! God bless you Steve Brandau, God save California!!!
   Governor, stop the train! In case you’ve forgotten you work for the people and we are tired of you serving your special interest cronies and disregarding the rest of us! We don’t want your train, it’s a waste of my money!
   Cancel the train and get the Dam built.
   It’s not about water, it’s about power and money.
   The state needs more water infrastructure rather than a train to no where, that no one will ride!!! Spend our tax dollars on infrastructure that will insure our future, not destroy it!!! The money spent on the San Joaquin River restoration is a joke!!! Take that money and help build Temperance Flat Dam, that will help all of the San Joaquin Valley economy!!!!
   We are in desperate need of water and yet you continue to waste money on a train that no one but you wants. The enormous fortune you are spending on this train could do so much for not only our valley but for all of the people in California. Without water where is our food, our jobs going to come from? How many people will move out of California because of its lack of water for farms, orchards, groves? Farmers are tearing out tree after tree and getting rid of cow after cow, people’s wells are going dry because of the water situtation, how long do you think we can go on?
   It’s time the people of California realize the only benefit of the “bullet train” is to line the pockets of politicians and other favored groups. Elected officials are supposed to lead and it’s a damn shame none of them have realized the need for infrastructure of our water system in this desert area with no water projects since 1970.
   ^@#$ the train we can’t ride it if we have to spend all our money for foreign veggies…we can’t ride if we die of thirst.
   Our water well went dry last July / we have to drill but we don’t know if there’s any water to drill for us…
   We do not “need” a high speed rail system anywhere in California. We do need long term solutions to the current and future drought(s).
   Desalination is the answer! Leave the crazy train to Ozzy!
   Dear Governor Brown, Please stop wasting money on wants, and start spending money on needs.
   California’s High Speed Rail was presented to the voters of California in 2008 as a train that was to run down the I-5 or Highway 99 corridor. I for one voted for this alignment on voting day but now we are told it is to veer off of the alignment into farmland and housing in the Madera area which will impact my home now. This means that I have voted to have my house demolished for an overpass for this train. This is not what my vote was intended for, much like a lot of others in the Valley. Issues like these are items that need to be addressed. I personally would like my vote back along with the happiness that was in my heart before hearing of my home’s demise. Please do not allow the train to nowhere.
   We don’t need to spent money on a train that go nowhere, while we are in need of dam to store water so we can live.
   We need the train like we need another year of drought…
   No train is also a water issue. If the train brings more here then we will need much more storage great job Steve Brandau.
   We need the water! Not the train that will just be a money pit! California leadership is failing the valley and Californians!
   We need water not a train!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
   Good governance requires sufficient flexibility to take action and to protect society in times of crisis.
   Build DAMS not trains to nowhere.
   WATER SHOULD BE THE PRIORITY!  WTF ARE YOU THINKING?
   I also hope that as you move forward to repair our levy system and repair and/or build new dams, please abandon your plans for the high speed rail. If you want people to remember you in a positive way, help us – don’t hurt us with a train that nobody wants – except for you. If you think we need a rail system, get BART to expand!! They do a great job with their service in the Bay Area.
   We don’t need a freaking train…People don’t use the train we have!!! This state needs WATER, look how the population of CA has grown and I can’t think ANY NEW major water storage/ lakes/ dams that have been built…it takes WATER for PEOPLE to LIVE…NOT A TRAIN!!!
   We have a train that is losing money. Why do we need another train to lose more money? Only a politician could see this as wise use of taxpayers money. Most California citizens say NO!
   WE NEED WATER TO LIVE, WE CAN LIVE WITHOUT HIGH SPEED RAIL.
   Stop the train. We don’t need it, we need water!
   People can’t live long without food or water. It has been nearly 40 years since a dam was built in this state. Meanwhile our population continues to grow, as do the markets for our produce. We need more water storage, not high speed trains that will be a drain on the State budget in perpetuity.
   We need water more then we need a train…
   Stop the train to nowhere! Create real jobs that last…give us water storage!
   It amazes me the lack of common sense we have in the state capital, also doing the right thing for the people, and not for lining the pockets of state and government officials with the rail project, should be your priority.
   Everyone needs water. Not everyone will ride the train.
   Stop the crazy train and build more water storage and desalination plants! Fast track more water for California.
   Water is a current and dire future problem. As much as I wish we had convenient, affordable rail travel, I would rather see the more serious issue of our ongoing water problem dealt with.
   We need water storage, not a worthless train! With no water there is no one to ride the train anyways!
   We already have Amtrak, that’s good enough for me. What we so DESPERATELY NEED is water. Won’t you please help us?
   The entire valley will benefit from water. It will help keep the farmers in business! It’s not like the farmers are going to get hired to build the high speed rail. How can the high speed rail be more beneficial when it’s NOT a necessity!!!! It’s a luxury. WE NEED WATER NOT A TRAIN!
   I would rather eat than ride a train…Build the DAM.
   Water is more important than a train.
   Right now water is the biggest concern for most Californians, not public transportation.
   NO train…water please.
   We don’t need the train, we need water!!
   We need damns that will benefit the entire population of CA not a DAM train that will only benefit 1% of CA population!!!! DAMS not DAMN trains!!
   Everyone I know is moving out of California and I’m not far behind with the way things are going.
   This is such a no-brainer that we shouldn’t even need a petition. Just a Governor with a sense of what’s best for the PEOPLE that he is supposed to represent, not his own personal agenda.
   The very urgent need of water here in the Central California region should be a first priority for the Governor. I am not saying don’t build the “High Speed Rail,” what I am saying is that “Our Water Needs” should be priority number one. Halt the “High Speed Rail Project” and concentrate on the more important issue…
   Knowing what we know now about the so-called “high speed rail,” it would have never have been approved by the taxpayers. We need to place OUR money where we desperately need it. Build water storage now and innovate water solutions.
   Way, way too expensive to be built now!! California has many other issues to be dealt with…especially water. Good grief what kind of person doesn’t see the need for water in this State!
   LISTEN TO THE PEOPLE & STOP SADDLING THE TAXPAYERS WITH THIS RIDICULOUS TRAIN THAT HASN’T MET 1 SINGLE BOND MEASURE REQUIREMENT & IS 5 TIMES MORE EXPENSIVE THAN PROPOSED. WE NEED WATER TO MAKE OUR STATE PROSPEROUS & TO SUPPLY THE WORLD WITH FOOD.
   This state is in desperate need of water, without it there isn’t a state period.
   Societies rise and fall by the way they manage their water supplies. California’s economic juggernaut exists because our forefathers built the best infrastructure in the world! Let’s get this dam built!
   Dam that Train! Leave our farms, families, communities and jobs, invest in water storage and build our economy, not a train to nowhere!
   Governor Brown, Make your legacy that you solved the water crisis in California, created jobs, kept the Central Valley green and productive, fed the rest of the Country and the world and put all this ahead of a train that will cost the California taxpayer billions maybe trillions for decades.
   Building the dam should be number 1 priority, the train can wait. Without water pretty soon there will be no California. We need water to survive and for the farmers to continue with their jobs. Water is needed for many things. It’s not something you can just keep pushing back on hold.
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We won’t need a train when we have no water…there will be nobody to ride it. Total waste of taxpayers’ money. Build a Dam and save California…it’s farmers and people.

Legacy Issues: The Citizens for California High-Speed Rail Accountability 2014 Business Plan for California High-Speed Rail

People interested in California High-Speed Rail issues frequently ask our organization – Citizens for California High-Speed Rail Accountability (CCHSRA) – for an accurate report about the status of California High-Speed Rail. In April 2014, CCHSRA produced its own 110-page version of a business plan that tries to fulfill the requirements outlined in state law for a business plan of the California High-Speed Rail Authority.

July 29 – Fresno County Board of Supervisors to Vote on California High-Speed Rail Position and Litigation

Are you a Fresno County resident concerned about how the government selected your community to be the testing ground for the troubled California High-Speed Rail program?

On July 29, 2014 at 9:00 a.m at 2281 Tulare Street in Fresno, the Fresno County Board of Supervisors will meet to discuss two critical items on its agenda concerning California High-Speed Rail:

  • Discuss and provide direction to staff to prepare and file an amicus brief regarding the High-Speed Rail litigation.
  • Discuss and give direction to staff regarding the Fresno County Board of Supervisors position on the California High-Speed Rail project (continued from July 15, 2014).

Here is information provided from the public to the Board of Supervisors for its July 29 meeting about taking a position on California High-Speed Rail: Background Material on California High-Speed Rail. Supervisor Debbie Poochigian prepared a memorandum and a draft resolution – read it here: California High-Speed Rail Project – Poochigian Memo – July 29, 2014.

As indicated on the July 29 agenda, the Fresno County Board of Supervisors considered taking a position at its July 15, 2014 meeting in opposition to the current manifestation of California High-Speed Rail. Supervisor Debbie Poochigian prepared a memorandum and a draft resolution – read it here: California High-Speed Rail Project – Poochigian Memo – July 15, 2014.

The Board of Supervisors did not take a position but decided to continue discussing the proposal at their next meeting. Here is video from the July 15, 2014 meeting related to the agenda item:

Michael Brady (attorney for Kings County) and Jeff Morales (CEO of the California High-Speed Rail Authority) Introductory Comments (10 minutes each)

(Video – 30 minutes total)

Public Comment

(Video – 2 hours 3 minutes)

Supervisors’ Discussion, Including Rebuttals from Brady and Morales

(Video – 1 hour 33 minutes) 

News Coverage

Fresno County Supervisors to Reconsider High-Speed Rail Stance – Fresno Bee – July 12, 2014

Fresno County Delays High-Speed Rail Support Vote – Fresno Business Journal – July 15, 2014

Fresno County Supervisors Wait On Poochigian Proposal To Oppose High-Speed Rail – Valley Public Radio KVPR – July 15, 2014

Fresno County Supervisors Make No Decision on Opposing High-Speed Rail – Fresno Bee – July 15, 2014

Fresno County Board of Supervisors Consider Withdrawing High-Speed Rail Support – KSEE Channel 24 (NBC) – July 15, 2014

Craziness with Job Numbers with the High-Speed Rail Project – by Kathy Hamiton in Examiner.com – July 23, 2014

Fresno County Supervisors Revisit High-Speed Rail ConcernsFresno Bee – July 25, 2014

Ten Things You Didn’t Know About California High-Speed Rail (Out of Thousands of Things Almost No One Knows)

Here’s a list of “Ten Things You Didn’t Know About California High-Speed Rail” from page 2 of CCHSRA’s alternative business plan, entitled Legacy Issues: The Citizens for California High-Speed Rail Accountability 2014 Business Plan for the California High-Speed Passenger Train System, Including Direct Connections with Existing and Planned Intercity and Commuter Rail Lines, Urban Rail Systems, and Bus Networks Using Common Station and Terminal Facilities.

Ten Things You Did Not Know about California High Speed Rail